Tuesday, July 25, 2006

He Inclined to Me and Heard My Cry

While I was pregnant, I appreciated reading other women's birth accounts. Probably reading about other home births helped me to consider it as a valid option. I know that other women would like to read my birth story as well.

If reading my story would be of benefit to you, please continue. If you are of the male persuasion, or are squeamish, or consider such accounts TOO MUCH INFORMATION, please spare yourself and me and just. stop. now. Thank You!

Saturday night, July 15th (my due date), I felt miserable. My hands and feet were swollen. My legs were turning interesting colors from the weight of my womb interfering with the circulation. I slept for a half an hour, then spent the rest of the night tossing and turning, moaning and groaning, and telling God that I didn't think I could handle another day being pregnant!

At 3: 30 in the morning, I started having contractions 15 minutes apart. James happened to wake up at 4 a.m. and ask me how I was doing. After realizing that my contractions were continuing at even intervals, he started getting last minute preparations done.

By 5 a.m., my contractions were 5 minutes apart and 1 minute long. James called Jean, our primary midwife. She asked if she should come and James told her that it would be a good idea based on how fast my previous labors progressed. By the time Jean arrived, I was camped out in my bathtub, handling the contractions by breathing through them. Jean bustled around setting up her equipment in the bedroom. Lauren, the assistant midwife, arrived at some point later.

After a little while, my contractions became more intense and I had to begin groaning through them to try to "drown out" the pain. With my previous two unmedicated births, since the pain of first stage labor was easily manageable by merely breathing through the contractions, the level of pain in this labor was a new experience. The midwives suggested to James that I might appreciate pressure on my back during the contractions, but I found it just focused my attention more on the pain. I asked him to just rub my back between contractions (the baby was not posterior).

This type of contraction continued for a long time. Jean checked my progress and found that I was dilated to 6 centimeters. After awhile, she told me that she wanted me to try some different positions to help labor to progress. She had me move to the bed and found that I was still at 6 centimeters due to a section of my cervix that was thin and tight and not dilating. She speculated that some scar tissue from a previous birth might be causing the problem. She had me move to the floor at the base of the bed and put my knees as far apart as possible while leaning with my arms on the bed. The contractions became even more painful and my knees and arms grew sore from holding myself in that position.

The midwives then moved me to a labor stool which intensified my contractions even more. Jean checked my progress and found that I was still at 6 cm. She could tell in that position that Logan's head was forward in the womb and that the cervix was posterior. During one horrible contraction, she actually pulled the cervix forward so that it was under the baby's head. Then she mercifully let me move back to the tub. Though I was in more pain using different positions and due to Jean's actions, I appreciated that she took hands-on measures to "troubleshoot" the stalling of my labor.

I prayed aloud, asking the Lord to be merciful to me, because of His love. I asked him to cause my cervix to dilate and allow the baby to be born. I cried out to Him for deliverance. The midwife told me that I might be in for a lot longer labor and that I needed to depend on God's strength to get me through. She told me that she was going to leave James and I to labor alone for awhile and come to terms with the fact that my labor might be longer, even though I was tired.

Jean didn't have a chance to leave the room... God heard and answered me. My water broke and in several contractions, I went from 6 to 10 cm. Immediately the baby's head moved down onto the perineum. The suddenness of his descent was quite traumatic. In the next contraction, his head was out. After the next, his body was born and I was holding him. I didn't push at all.

When Logan was born, he was blue. The midwives are certified in neonatal resuscitation and Lauren used a bag to start his breathing. He continued to be blue for several minutes. The midwives reassuringly stated that his heart rate was normal and his respiration was normal. James went into the other room and prayed for Logan. He pinked completely up in about ten minutes. (The midwives were a bit surprised that he was blue as he was born so fast, his heart rate was normal throughout labor, and he did not have the cord around his neck.)

My labor and delivery lasted from 3:30 am to 9:04 am.

My family came into the room to see the newborn exam (pictures posted on Logan's Log). I asked the midwives to show the kids the placenta. Lauren showed the kids the umbilical cord with the artery and two blood vessels inside. She told them the smooth, shiny side faced the baby in the womb and she lifted up the membrane to show them the amniotic sac and the place where it ruptured. She turned the placenta over to show the folds which faced the maternal side in the uterus. She explained how the organ sustained the baby through gestation. The kids had already learned some about the placenta by viewing the video "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made" and were very interested in seeing the "real thing".

Following the newborn exam, James led all of us in prayer accompanied with some tears, thanking God for safely bringing Logan into the world.

Psalm 40:1-3 (ESV)

"I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the LORD."

Monday, July 24, 2006

The First Week

Thank you to all who left such nice comments about the birth of Logan! It is wonderful that so many share in our joy!

Logan, so far, is very easy to take care of. He caught on to nursing very quickly. At night he goes right to sleep when we put him in his hammock after each feeding. Last night he nursed at 9:30 pm and then not again until 3:30 am. I can handle a schedule like that!

I was wrong to doubt his 8# 15 oz. weight at birth. He was 8# 5 oz. at the pediatrician's office on Monday, but when we took him back for his one week visit on Friday, he was already back up to 8# 10 oz. However, I was right to doubt his 22 3/4 inches length measurement at birth. A soft mattress is not an ideal surface for obtaining an accurate measurement!! At the doctor's office, Logan measured 21 1/4 inches.

The pediatrician told us not to worry about his blueness, either at birth, or in his legs for awhile afterwards when they hung below the level of his heart. He took Logan's pulse ox in both legs and it showed 96% in both. The doc said that he is a normal, healthy boy. Thank the Lord!

I began to feel better Saturday afternoon. I was surprised by how long I felt worn out and sore after Logan's delivery. My labor and delivery with him was more difficult than with my other children.

I decided that I felt up to attending church on Sunday, and especially wanted to hear my dad preach (guest preacher). It is so much easier getting ready for church in the morning with older kids to help out!! I had time to troubleshoot my bad hair (my hair wilted as soon as Logan was born and I'm in dire need of a haircut!) while Evan held Logan in the rocking chair.

When we arrived at church, I popped Logan into his Hotsling and he slept through the service! I'm already impressed with how comfortable the Hotsling is! I've attempted to use a NoJo sling before, both when I was a nanny and with my previous kids. I never liked it or any other carrier for that matter, because my neck and shoulders got sore too fast. The Hotsling has no ring and fits tighter and higher on the body. I haven't gotten sore from it yet!

My parents left this morning to fly back home. They both did so much to help out while they were here! My mom took over running the household: cooking, dishes, laundry, cleaning etc. while enjoying some of the babycare. My dad spent a lot of time with the older kids: going on a long bike ride or walk most every morning, helping Evan build a bird feeder, taking them to "Nickel a Play" (a library reading program award) and to the movie "Cars" etc. He sanded down our kitchen table top and finished it with five coats of polyurethane (looks nicer than brand new!) He also tackled an overgrown corner of our back yard, and with Evan's help, put in a river rock border around our little blue spruce and aspens. They added two boulders under the aspens that the kids can sit under. We will miss their company and help! It is nice that James still has some time off from work.

I've added more pictures to Logan's Log (click here). Forgive me if the amount of pictures seems to be overkill. Maybe I'm not very discerning as a proud parent.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Our Newest Family Member

Join us in thanking God for the arrival of baby Logan Ray on Sunday morning, July 16th around 9 a.m. According to the midwives' measurements, he was 8 pounds 15 oz. and 22 3/4 inches long. (The next day, at the pediatrician's office, he weighed 8 pounds 5 oz. on a more accurate scale, and while he probably lost some weight since birth, probably not 10 oz.)

Thank you to all who kept us in your prayers! Thank you to those who commiserated with me in the comments section about the wait.

I will post more later when I have more energy. Please keep Logan in your prayers. He has been turning slightly blue around his mouth and in his legs when they are below the level of his heart. His heart rate and respirations are normal and he is alert and nursing well. He is getting some physiological jaundice. The pediatrician tested his blood pressure in his arms and legs and found it to be normal. He said that maybe the blueness is a "newborn positional thing", whatever that means. Logan has another appointment this week.

Click HERE to view pictures!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Still Not Yet

"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." Proverbs 19:21

This is the verse that I posted on my blog when I first revealed our surprise pregnancy, and it still applies.

I'm not used to waiting so long for a baby to arrive. My other kids spoiled me by showing up at 38 and 39 weeks. They came so soon that I never experienced the pitying looks from people and the constant questions: "Are you still here?" "Haven't you had the baby yet?" etc. etc.

The funniest question that I got asked three times at church last week was: "Do you have any signs that the baby will be born soon?" One time I replied: "Well, I am pregnant and I know that it has to end sometime."

I didn't realize before how wearing, both physically and mentally, it is to get clear to 40 weeks. I especially can't help wondering if this baby is going to arrive before my parents' two week visit ends. They aren't putting any pressure on me, though, and are helping out around the house a lot and having fun with the grandkids.

If I can help it, I don't answer the phone. When James or the kids or my parents answer the phone, the first thing that I hear them say is, "No, not yet." Many people have asked me to call them when I go into labor. Now I've started saying no to that, because by the time I would get through the list of people to call, the baby would be crowning!

Two days ago, one of my sisters called to harrass chat with me. At one point I teasingly said something to her and wasn't for sure that she understood I was teasing her. I explained, "I'm joking." She joked back, "You're choking?!! Someone help the woman, she's choking!!!"

When I got off the phone with her, I poured a glass of milk and looked at my pictures on the refrigerator while I drank it. One drink went down the wrong way and I involuntarily and violently spewed milk all over all of my pictures!

I called my sister back and asked her, "How did you know that I was going to choke?! Would you also predict that I'm going into labor?" She quipped, "I don't know. I'm not feeling that!" I retorted, "Just SAY it!"

(Incidentally, I had another choking incident the next morning in which I spewed water all over my bathroom mirror. I'm wondering if pregnancy hormones have loosened up that little flap that goes over the windpipe so that it is failing me at times. I hope I live to deliver this baby.)

My mom, seeing my pitiful state, has suggested that I try castor oil to induce labor. I declined the suggestion. My midwives told me that one of their clients tried that method, and while it worked, let's just say that it also added an hour of clean-up to their time.

So I must continue to wait, trying not to wonder or worry about when the baby arrives, while sipping my bottomless supply of iced raspberry leaf tea.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Not Yet

No baby yet! My parents flew in earlier this week to help with the new baby. They had to decide ahead of time when to travel in order to get a decent price on flights. My other babies arrived at 38 or 39 weeks, but this baby so far is holding us all in suspense. I hope he makes his appearance soon so that my parents can help postpartum! God knows the right time, though.